President - Frank Grey Smith
Vice-Presidents - Henry Harrison, B. Goldsmith, J. McDonald, M. McKenzie
Secretary - Harry Carr
Treasurer - Arthur Hunt
Captain - George Aitken / F. Franks
Vice-Captain - H Rush / F. Franks
Second 20 Secretary - McGregor
Committee - Rush, Morris, C. Rannard, Tuckfield

Turfed off the MCG by the Cricket Club who preferred Carlton as a tenant, Melbourne then lost the Football Ground outside when the council decided to plant trees in what is now Yarra Park.

After talks to use the Richmond Cricket Ground collapsed the club organised to move to the Friendly Societies Ground on Swan Street (now the Olympic Park precinct), the former site of the first Melbourne Zoo. They signed a five year lease but after making their debut in the venue late in the season it was soon deemed inappropriate and the club were on the way back to the MCG. They had taken out a 500p overdraft to develop the ground but had no grandstands and couldn't charge admission to games.

In addition to the office bearers other members of the club's committee were H. Rush, A. Morris, D. Rannard and HT Champion. Selection committee was M. Plant, Rush, H. Morrison, McDonald, Champion and Hunt. Club delegates to the VFA were D. Rannard and HD Carr. Mr McGregor was secretary of the Second 20.

The present day Richmond side and University were admitted to the VFA for the first time. The association sought to standardise ground sizes, and goal umpires were paid for the first time.

Melbourne had a difficult year, the senior side winning seven games, drawing three and losing 14. The second twenty won eight, lost four and drew five.

Billy Carroll was voted the best player at the end of the year. Players who were named amongst The Australasian newspaper's best players were Carroll, D. Willis (followers), J. Kelly and George Aitken (backs), C. Spooner and George Strachan (centres), Howard Morrison and E. Griffith (wings)).

Receipts for the year were 207p, 3s and 10d but expenditure was 408p, 11s, 1d and the club's debts had blown out to 523p, 11s, 9d.

VFA matches

2 May Carlton LOSS
9 May Fitzroy LOSS
16 May Essendon LOSS
30 May Richmond LOSS
6 June Hotham WIN
13 June University WIN
20 June Geelong LOSS
27 June Carlton LOSS
4 July Williamstown LOSS
11 July South Melbourne LOSS
18 July Essendon WIN
25 July Fitzroy DRAW
1 August Hotham LOSS
8 August Richmond LOSS
15 August University WIN
22 August South Melbourne LOSS
29 August Carlton LOSS
5 September Hotham WIN
12 September Williamstown LOSS
19 September Essendon LOSS
26 September Geelong DRAW

Other matches

25 April Public Schools WIN
23 May Ballarat Imperial LOSS
25 May Port Adelaide WIN
18 June Norwood WIN


J. Affleck, George Aitken, WR Bailey, S. Baird, E. Brayshay, R. Brown, J. Carroll, Billy Carroll, C. Carter, H. Champion, A. Collie, Albert Coulson, Charles Coulson, J. Doran, A. Edwards, Foote, F. Franks, C. Garton, E. Griffith, W. Harry, Hubbard, A. Hunt, Hyland, H. Johnson, James Kelly, Kerr, Kerrigan, E. Lynar, W. McAlister, A. McCrindle, Murdoch McKenzie, Mitchell, Howard Morrison, Moss, W. Nuttall, Fred Plant, Propsting, Reade, Dick Robinson, W. Ross, H. Rush, C. Spooner, George Strachan, P. Stubbs, H. Taylor, H. Tuckfield, D. Willis


Billy Carroll 7, C. Coulson 5, S. Baird 4, A. McCrindle 3, E. Lynar 3, A. Collie 2, J. Doran 2, Hubbard 2, F. Plant 2, J. Carroll 1, E. Griffith 1, W. Ross 1, H. Taylor 1, Unknown 1


1st South Melbourne 25 22 0 315838
2nd Essendon 21 15 2411058
3rd Geelong 23 14459464
4th Carlton 23 13827361
5th Hotham 24 146410362
6th Fitzroy 2210845755
7th Williamstown 188824349
8th Richmond 1841223172
9th Melbourne 2361524388
10th University 22 41624079

Second 20

25 April Evansdale UNKNOWN ?
2 May Osborne UNKNOWN ?
9 May Fitzroy WIN6.9 - 1.7 Stub 3, Nuttall 2, Parsons 1
16 May Essendon DRAW2.11 - 2.6 Harvey 1, Champion 1
30 May Southern Cross LOSS 2.5 - 4.7
13 June Hotham UNKNOWN ?
27 June Carlton WIN1.7 - 0.4 Marshall
4 July Williamstown UNKNOWN ?
11 July South Melbourne UNKNOWN ?
18 July Essendon DRAW1.9 - 1.5
25 July Fitzroy 5.13 - 2.8 Finlay, Harvey, Whitford, Costelloe, Macgregor
8 August Southern Cross UNKNOWN ?
22 August South Melbourne UNKNOWN ?
19 September Essendon WIN 1.7 - 0.3


  • It is not clear if Melbourne Juniors were an affiliated team or another name for the Second 20. They won 1-0 against Young Australians on 2 May when the opposition captain withdrew his team after a dispute with the umpire.
  • The 18 July game is described as being won by Melbourne Second 20 despite the goals being tied. Games in this era were generally described as drawn if the goal scores were equal.
  • The senior results above differ from both the ladder and the report from the next year's AGM.
  • 1886 newspapers suggest a game against South Ballarat was played in May. This may be the same club as Ballarat Imperial.
  • Some sources say the Friendly Societies' Ground was on the site of Melbourne Park

Argus - 28/03/1885
Age - 28/03/1885
Tasmanian - 04/04/1885
Australasian - 04/04/1885
Australasian - 10/04/1886
Sydney Mail - 30/05/1885
Otago Witness - 13/06/1885
Sportsman - 15/07/1885
Sydney Morning Herald - 20/07/1885
Argus - 07/04/1886

Blueseum 1885 page
footytimeline.com- 1885
VFA Results and Tables

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Saturday 03 February 2024 19:15:13 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 53)

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